As Kansas and Baylor warmed up in front of the world on College Gameday preparing for their much anticipated showdown, I topped off the gas tank and headed north out of Des Moines to check out Draftkings Sportsbook at the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson. The sportsbook there isn’t new, gambling has been legal in Iowa for six months now, but the ability to make your wagers via their mobile app is. For your initial log in Iowa mandates that you do that step in person so a quick trip up the road was necessary. I have an account at another book but any gambler worth their salt will tell you how important is it to shop for the best line. Those half points and laying -110 when you could have laid -105 add up. Besides, it was a gorgeous day and the sun shines a little brighter when you are off doing something you enjoy.
From the second I stepped foot into the book I was impressed with this place. It’s an inviting concept, the bar when you walk in offers the traditional Iowa favorites of Bud Light and Busch Light as well as Exile on tap. There are screens everywhere with the main attraction, in today’s case Kansas and Baylor, featured on a giant projection screen large enough to make you think you’ve got a front row seat at the arena. Lines for upcoming events scroll on screens above the counter where you can place your bets in person if you prefer that to the app.
I walked down and grabbed a sheet with the current college basketball lines and was greeted promptly, given a card showing how to set up my app, offered a couple freebies (some sunglasses and a bottle opener), and told that if I needed any sheets printed out to just let her know and she would be happy to help. I grabbed a Ruthie and settled in to figure out my next steps but before I had my first sip I was done with setup. You can download the app prior to going to to the book and then when you are there you simply have to log in and you are set. You can load your account right on the app and you are able to do it right from your bank account or card, whichever you prefer. When I opened the app I had a free bet waiting for me so I got down on some Kansas -1.5 in game. The app works incredibly smoothly and I really like the search function, it is a huge timesaver instead of scrolling down through every option.
The sportsbook here has a feel of a bar restaurant that you can place your bets at. I saw quite a bit of food coming out and it all looked delicious. Mark me down for one of the pizzas next time, that thing looked legit and your boy knows his pizza. I also noticed that every staff member I spoke with or just saw was smiling and polite to everyone. I always enjoy feeling like a place wants my business, not that I’m blessed they opened their door for me.
Overall my experience at the Draftkings Sportsbook and the Wild Rose was top notch. I did not go in with high expectations based on my experiences at other books and they changed my view today. I’m mostly a bet on the app kind of guy but I would have no hesitation spending the day at that book. The hotel is right down the hall if you enjoy a few too many cocktails. With their competitive lines and as an easy to use app I think this will be the book that earns a lot more of my business and if you enjoy sports betting I recommend that you get yourself set up there too.